Kirori Mal College student Shilpi Nagpal was thrilled to see her favourite teacher from the Department of Chemistry,Kalpana Mehrotra,pose for a photograph with the former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
Mehrotra is one of the 90 undergraduate teachers from 30-odd Delhi University colleges to win the Best Teacher Award instituted by the University. The awards,an initiative of the Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental,were presented by Kalam,who spoke about his teachers from St. Josephs College,Trichy,and IIT-Madras.
Talking about the awards,Pental said,I went to post-graduate departments and administered a questionnaire of roughly 25 questions. I wanted to get an idea of the mood of students,but we noticed that names of some teachers were repeated for a question on favourite teachers. It was then that we decided that it would be good to felicitate them.
Conducted in two phases across two academic years,the survey took nearly two months to be analysed.
Teachers received information about the award only last Friday,and most of them thought it was a practical joke. Only a call from the VCs office convinced most of the teachers,and the fact that they were nominated by their own students made the awards extra special.
Awards were given to teachers who doubled as administrators,and Dean of Student Welfare S K Vij and Institute of Life Long Learning Director A K Bakshi were among the winners. Proctor and Chief Election Officer Gurmeet Singh may have missed out,but his wife Gurmeet Kaur from the Department of Chemistry,SGTB Khalsa College,was one of the awardees.
With eight winners Miranda House teachers topped the list. Ramjas College had seven teachers and they got the loudest applause from the invited students. Out of the 12 disciplines recognised,English contributed 18 teachers.
Deepak Pental said the system of selection would be fine-tuned in the coming years. All courses have not been covered because we opted to start with the largest departments. The survey will be more professional soon so that those brilliant teachers left out this year could be included the next year.
Meanwhile,the Delhi University Teachers Association has called the VCs action arbitrary,unauthorised and unhealthy.
The VC has not sought approval of the Academic Council and Executive Council nor any other forum or body of the University. This is another instance of arbitrary functioning of Prof. Pental,who as VC is running Delhi University as his private fiefdom, DUTA President Aditya Narayan Misra said.